The New York Times’ long look at Bill de Blasio’s history of left-wing activism in the late eighties and early nineties, particularly his work in supporting the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, asserts that the mayoral candidate “has spoken only occasionally” about that time in his life, which suggests he’s trying to keep it quiet. But that’s not so, as he’s referred publicly to lessons he learned while visiting Nicaragua as a pro-Sandinista activist. Some revelations in this most in-depth profile of the candidate as a young activist might have been politically damaging twenty-some years ago, but not now: He supported an organization the Reagan government branded Communist, and his big “epiphany” was that governments should proactively offer services to individuals. He also once endorsed democratic socialism. But there’s one key detail about which de Blasio definitely should be embarrassed.
Per the Times: “Mr. de Blasio’s answering machine greetings in those days seemed to reflect a search for meaning. Every few weeks, he recorded a new message, incorporating a quote to reflect his mood — a passage from classic literature, lyrics from a song or stanzas of a poem.” Unfortunately, that passage includes no examples. But the thought of having to listen to someone read inspiring lines of poetry every time you wanted to leave them a message (which was a lot more often in those days) is just excruciating. It’s like a Facebook status update you can’t ignore if you want to communicate with the person. At least he didn’t set them to music, as far as we know.